Unemployment among the educated rising

Pretoria – Unemployment among the educated is increasingly becoming a phenomenon, says a report released recently by the Department of Labour.

According to the Job Opportunities and Unemployment in the South African Labour Market report, while the South African education system has undergone several reforms to include a large number of citizens, the benefits are not directly observed in the labour market.

The report also reveals that unemployment is high among people with no tertiary qualification and low among people with a tertiary qualification.

“When it comes to laying-off employees when companies are in economic or financial crisis, people with less education and little experience are normally the first ones to be laid-off as opposed to people with higher levels of education,” said the report.

Abrahams Mutedi, Director of Labour Market Information and Statistics at Department of Labour, said the rise in the ‘army’ of the unemployed among the educated was a reflection of a growing mismatch persistent in the labour market.

“What employers are looking for in terms of educational levels and skills does not match what is available in the labour market,” he said.

Mutedi said from the data captured, there has been a shift in the economy over the past decade or so towards high tech and services industries.

The report shows the level of skills needed in the South African labour market based on the job vacancies trends.

He said it reflects on the labour market dynamics between demand and supply of labour and also help policy makers, especially in areas of economic management, employers and stakeholders in education, among others.

The report also shows that the number of vacancies captured has been fluctuating on a quarterly basis in the financial year 2010/2011.

It increased from quarter three (12 172) to quarter four (13 636) after a decrease from quarter two (21 213) to quarter three (12 172) in the financial year.

The data further indicates that more than 90% of vacancies were permanent jobs in the community, social and services sector.

On the other hand, the Department of Labour created 581 427 new ordinary claims for unemployment insurance benefits over the same financial period, and had a decrease of 44 739 unemployment insurance ordinary claims from the last financial year.

“The high percentage of full-time jobs is a good sign in a country like South Africa, where casualisation has increased as reflected in the UIF data,” said the report.

The report said managers are the only occupational group that recorded an increase throughout all the four quarters. The number of people employed in the managers occupational group increased by 136 000 from 1 000 000 in quarter one of 2010 to 1 136 000 in quarter one of 2011.

Between quarter four of 2010 and quarter one of 2011, jobs were largely created in the craft and related trade (55 000), sales and services (22 000) and manager (12 000) occupational categories.

On the other hand, the clerks, skilled agriculture and professionals recorded a decrease of 93 000 and 12 000 respectively. The year-on-year picture between quarter one (January-March) 2010 and quarter one (January-March) 2011 shows that the number of women employed decreased by 22 000 whereas the men increased by 63 000.

The data has continued to expose the fragility of the youth in the labour market as highlighted in the previous reports and the global employment trends for the youth reports.

“As reflected in the Quarterly Labour Force survey report, it is understood that a slow growth in employment will bring constraint to human development and economic progress,” said the report.

It said what was needed were government interventions that can produce sustainable jobs to promote economic growth.

Another intervention entailed institutional reform to address weaknesses that constrained the country’s growth potential, such as the way government is organised; the capacity of government to deliver and leadership in policy development and implementation.

The report concludes that the high unemployment rate remains SA’s major economic challenge and there are no short-term solutions to the problem except to acknowledge that the New Growth Path (NGP) is targeting about 5 million new jobs by 2020 and Government leading the way by declaring 2011 a year of job creation through massive investment in fixed and human capital.

According to the report there is a need for the Department of Labour to drive the process of reducing unemployment in South Africa especially among the youth through the Public Employment Services (PES), an initiative which matches unemployed with prospective employers. – BuaNews

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